The U.S. Navy in Review
By Robert D. Holzer and Scott C. Truver
As of early April, the Navy, like all of America, was at general quarters in a struggle against the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. Sailors and Marines, at sea and ashore, have been infected, and many more surely will be. Yet, amid this crisis, the Navy continued to sail in harm’s way. Two carrier strike groups and an amphibious ready group were forward deployed to deter and, if need be, respond to any Iranian military response to the early January killing of Revolutionary Guards Corps–Quds Force leader General Qasem Soleimani. This is what the naval service does—its principal purpose—and why the United States invests in forward-deployed naval forces.
The past year can be summed up as a time of change—some would say chaos—and opportunity. By year’s end, many top civilian and uniformed leaders of the naval services were new to the job, including the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the since-departed Acting Secretary of the Navy. This new leadership team is attempting to implement potentially far-reaching force structure and efficiency changes while facing flat budgets, a less stable geopolitical environment, and now potentially a long-term economic recession.
Disconnect with the Secretary of Defense
In March 2020, Congressional Research Service specialist in naval affairs Ronald O’Rourke outlined the result of the 2016 Navy Force Structure Assessment (FSA). The fleet in early 2020 comprised about 290 ships, but O’Rourke explained:
The Trump administration has identified the achievement of a Navy of 355 or more ships within 10 years as a high priority. The Navy states that it is working as well as it can, within a Navy budget top line that is essentially flat in real (i.e., inflation-
adjusted) terms, toward achieving that goal while also adequately funding other Navy priorities, such as restoring eroded ship readiness and improving fleet lethality. Navy officials . . . want to avoid creating a so-called hollow force, meaning a Navy that has an adequate number of ships but is unable to properly crew, arm, operate, and maintain those ships.1
Seemingly all good, but USNI News recently reported that the Navy and Marine Corps now have found themselves in a battle with Defense Department leaders over the right force size and composition of tomorrow’s fleet and how quickly to get there. As Sam LaGrone wrote, “Almost as soon as Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday took command [in] July and August, they agreed on the need to conduct a first-ever Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment [INFSA] to draw out what the future fleet should look like under the National Defense Strategy and to support Distributed Maritime Operations and Expeditionary Advance Base Operations concepts.”2 The two services have therefore focused efforts on the INFSA.
O’Rourke indicated the “INFSA could result in a once-in-a-generation change in the Navy’s fleet architecture . . . [and] shift the fleet to a more distributed architecture that includes a reduced proportion of larger ships, an increased proportion of smaller ships, and a newly created category of large unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and large unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs). Such a change in fleet architecture could alter the mix of ships to be procured for the Navy and the distribution of Navy shipbuilding work among the nation’s shipyards.”3 In January 2020, however, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper without warning put the INFSA on hold to give time for “more wargames and analysis by outside entities.”4
Nevertheless, in March Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly previewed the INFSA results, saying the Navy needed a fleet of 390 manned ships (and another 45 unmanned vessels). He also committed to reaching a 355-ship fleet by 2030 by shifting money within the Navy’s budget before asking for a higher topline that is unlikely to come. “Esper, too—though without providing the funds to get there—has said he is ‘fully committed’ to getting the Navy to 355 ships.”5
The amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD-25) transits the Pacific Ocean during Exercise Iron Fist 2019. Naval integration is a top priority for the newly installed Chief of Naval Operations and Commandant of the Marine Corps and is driving a new, integrated naval force structure assessment. U.S. Navy (Devin M. Langer)
The Navy and Marine Corps are embarked on a joint mission to integrate to a level not seen since World War II to maximize operational effectiveness and meet the strategic need for distributed and lethal maritime forces. The integration achieved in the interwar period provides a blueprint for today’s leaders. In his fragmentary order to the Fleet, Admiral Gilday said, “We fight and win as a team. We are greater when we integrate more closely with the Marine Corps.” Gilday called out three focus areas: warfighting, warfighters, and the future fleet.6 Likewise, General Berger wrote in his Commandant’s Planning Guidance issued last July that, operating as an extension of the fleet, “the Marine Corps will be trained and equipped as an expeditionary naval force in readiness
. . . in support of Fleet operations.”7
The drive for naval integration is being fueled by the services’ response to great power competition with China and Russia. Of the three broad priorities for the Navy and Marine Corps, designing a future integrated naval force structure is clearly first among equals.
How this integration will be implemented has yet to be fully articulated. Gilday and Berger meet on a frequent (close to daily) basis. They have discussed integrating their budget planning processes, but that will not start until the 2022 budget cycle. Both services also have considered more closely integrating their respective wargaming, experimentation, and exercises, but little of that has been publicly manifested thus far. Moreover, one capability the CNO and Commandant explicitly and repeatedly emphasized in their strategy documents is unmanned systems. With both services initiating new unmanned programs, especially surface vehicles, this area seems ripe for near-term teaming. Finally, the CNO has said the naval services intend to transform INFSA into a continual process, one that will be updated on a yearly basis instead of the current three-year cycle.8
Former Acting Secretary Modly strongly supported the Navy–Marine Corps integration drive, labeling it the “Integrated American Naval Force” last December in the first of what became weekly Vectors memos. “All future high-level strategies, visions and guidance emanating from our Navy and Marine Corps team must start and finish as integrated efforts, not as final phase ‘bolt-ons’ from one to the other.”9
The Navy missile-defense enterprise saw several important developments in 2019. “During the past year, Sea-Based Weapon Systems [SBWS] continued to be a key part of the nation’s regional defense for our deployed forces, allies, and partners. And they directly support and expand our homeland defenses with long-range surveillance and tracking capability,” according to Deidre Forster, Missile Defense Agency (MDA) public affairs officer.10 “We will continue advancement of the SBWS, including improvements in system and missile reliability, and increases in SBWS engagement capacity and lethality aligned with Navy requirements.” This undoubtedly will improve Aegis warship and ashore site performance against short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, as well as demonstrate capability against intercontinental ballistic missile threats.
For example, on 1 August, in the flight test Standard Missile-31 Event 2, the Navy demonstrated Aegis warship capability to detect, track, and intercept an antiair warfare target using a Standard Missile (SM)-6 Dual II (AAW initialized). “The success demonstrated the retention of the Navy’s antiair warfare defense capability using the Sea-Based Terminal Increment 2 SM-6 Dual II in an AAW initialized mode,” Forster noted.
The Aegis SM-3 Block IIA program, under a cooperative development effort with Japan, received its initial production decision to procure 37 missiles. In December, the MDA awarded a contract for 62 missiles and in March 2020, a five-year Aegis SM-3 Block IB contract was awarded that will bring the inventory closer to the Navy’s objective of 568 SM-3 missiles. “Overall, we have achieved significant and affordable advances in our SBWS portfolio,” Forster emphasized.
In May, the MDA replicated elements of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) Phase 3 architecture
in Formidable Shield 19. “We used in-theater SBWS baselines and performed two separate Aegis SM-3 Block IA firings at simulated targets. Ships from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated in FS-19,” Forster explained. “The United States is providing ballistic missile defense against current threats to U.S. forward-deployed forces and allies in Europe. EPAA comprises four forward-deployed BMD-capable warships in the Sixth Fleet area of operations, a sensor in Turkey, and an operational Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Complex in Romania.”
A second Aegis Ashore site under construction in Poland is about 90 percent complete; however, significant work remains to install the Aegis weapons system and will delay operationalizing the site until approximately 2022. The MDA, with service and combatant commander coordination, is working to mitigate the delays at Aegis Ashore Poland and provide for the defense of NATO consistent with EPAA Phase III objectives.
Columbia SSBN Industrial Base Challenges
The U.S. Ambassador to Poland visits Naval Support Facility Redzikowo and the under-construction Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System site. The site will be home to approximately 200 sailors, and once completed will join a similar site in Romania in defending NATO countries from ballistic missile threats. U.S. Navy (Amy Forsythe)
Building the strategic ballistic-missile submarine Columbia (SSBN-826) on time and on cost is the greatest acquisition challenge the Navy has faced in recent years. It must succeed. Given its cost, complexity, importance, and extremely tight construction schedule, any Columbia program perturbation will ripple through every other Navy shipbuilding program.
Whether the nation’s submarine industrial base can achieve this goal is attracting growing attention across the Navy, Congress, and industry. The situation is even more fraught, as the nation’s submarine builders already are fully engaged building Virginia-class attack submarines while simultaneously trying to grow a new, highly skilled work force in an era of historically low unemployment (prior to the pandemic). And the fact that the Navy has three aircraft carriers under construction in 2020 adds more stress to the nuclear-component production and supply base.
Navy leaders are well aware of Columbia’s outsized role in shipbuilding and have taken steps to mitigate the program’s impact. The service began incrementally funding the first SSBN in fiscal year 2019 and has made investments across the entire nuclear-construction enterprise to build capacity and level work across multiple shipyards and companies. The Navy also established a new program executive office (PEO) in 2019 to manage the Columbia’s acquisition.
The Navy is requesting $4.0 billion in funding for the Columbia program in the FY2021 budget, representing the first of three additional years of funding for the first submarine. The second SSBN will be procured in 2024 and the third in 2026. Based on the retirement plan for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, the Columbia must be ready to deploy in 2031.
Retaining acquisition expertise while one generation of submarine builders retires and a new generation develops its skills takes time and will result in some mistakes and rework. Rewelding on missile tubes is one issue that surfaced in 2018 and consumed precious time. The Navy accounted for some of these issues in the Columbia program by building in ample margin for unforeseen schedule delays, but that margin already has been consumed before the first boat’s keel has been laid down.
Before retiring last year, then-CNO Admiral John Richardson said, “I think that the Columbia program is on track, but there is so little margin in that program. We built that margin in, but a lot of it has been eaten up by one unexpected thing or another.”11 The Navy opted not to fund a second Virginia-class sub in the 2021 budget, as “Columbia adds about a 164 percent increase in the workload,” according Rear Admiral Randy Crites, the Navy budget director, in detailing the 2021 budget request.12
Collectively, the actions the Navy is taking, from reducing builders’ risk to ensuring schedule margin to holistically managing the entire nuclear-component industrial base, could mean the Columbia faces a clearer acquisition path ahead. Experts note that, compared with the carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-79), the Columbia has a much shorter list of new technologies being integrated in its design. “I think compared to the Ford, the risks with Columbia are smaller in number, more bounded, and relatively understood,” said former submariner and naval expert Bryan Clark.13
General Dynamics Electric Boat works in New London, Connecticut, where the new Columbia-class strategic ballistic missile submarine will be built by an aging workforce. Retaining expertise while one generation retires and a new generation of submarine builders develops its skills takes time and will result in some mistakes and rework, as happened already with Columbia missile-tube welds. Alamy (Michael Dwyer)
Aircraft Carriers—Now and In the Future
The Navy’s January 2019 two-carrier block buy with Newport News Shipbuilding/Huntington Ingalls Industries reduced by $4 billion the estimated cost of building the next two Ford-class carriers (CVN-80 and CVN-81), from $28 billion to $24 billion.14 The $24 billion acquisition also provides the Navy and Congress some flexibility, as it is at least six years before beginning a program for another carrier. In late spring 2020, the Gerald R. Ford was going through post-delivery tests and trials, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-80) was 70 percent complete, construction had started on the USS Enterprise (CVN-81), and long-lead material was being procured for the USS Doris Miller (CVN-82), scheduled to deliver in 2032.
In addition to the Gerald R. Ford–class program and perhaps catalyzed by the INFSA, the Navy is considering moving to a new aircraft carrier/naval aviation force architecture that might supplement today’s large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers with smaller and perhaps non-nuclear-powered carriers. The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force will study how carriers hold up against threats from Russia and China. As USNI News reported:
The Navy has taken several cracks over the years at trying to define a new future aircraft carrier, one that might be less expensive or less vulnerable. But each time, the Navy has moved forward with the nuclear-powered supercarrier concept, in part because it provides an unmatched sortie-generation capability, and in part, because it’s built by a workforce that would be tough or impossible to reconstitute if the Navy ever stopped supporting it. But today . . . the face of the future fleet is being scrutinized on all fronts, perhaps opening the door—even if just a crack—to seriously consider alternate carrier ideas.15
Since the late 1940s, aircraft carrier programs have been “targets” of a broad array of antagonists, from critics in the Pentagon or other services, the White House, Congress, and groups such as Greenpeace. Consider the saga of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), canceled by the Ford administration in 1976 and again by the Carter administration in 1979.16 Alternatives to CVN-71 were considered in the form of cheaper 65,000-ton/conventional-powered “medium” CVVs. Two studies––Sea-Based Air Master Plan (1978) and the Assessment of Sea-Based Air Platforms Project (1980)––identified some 45 aircraft carrier/air-capable ship concepts, including 25,000-ton vertical and/or short take-off or land (VSTOL) Support Ships (VSSs) and 15,000-ton DD-963(H) through-deck cruisers. CVN-71 ultimately was funded in FY 1980.17
The Navy also has been looking at complements to big-deck nuclear carriers to augment the distributed force. For example, former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer in October noted that smaller tactical-aviation-capable carriers such as amphibious assault ships—which the Navy and the Marine Corps have been outfitting with F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters to create experimental “Lightning carriers”—were one “great” option, and the USS America (LHA-6) tested the concept.18 Another option for a smaller air-capable warship is one whose air detachment would comprise mostly or entirely unmanned aerial vehicles.
Building on the Two-Carrier Buy
The aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) as its drydock is flooded on 29 October 2019. The John F. Kennedy was christened on 7 December and is the second of the new Ford-class nuclear-powered carriers. The Navy also has stood up the Future Carrier 2030 Task Force to study how carriers will hold up against threats from Russia and China. U.S. Navy (Adam Ferrero)
With the 2019 two-aircraft carrier acquisition underscoring the benefits of a single, multi-ship contract, some have suggested applying the same method in purchasing the next large-deck amphibious assault warships (LHA-9 and -10) and the 12 Flight II San Antonio amphibious platform dock ships (LPD-30 to 42).19 Among other benefits, the shipyard’s workforce would be stabilized between keel-layings. Navy officials also note that the same shipbuilder constructs the LPDs and LHAs, which should enable economic design, engineering, and buying of government- and contractor-furnished equipment to help ensure best-cost efficiencies common to both classes.
In March 2020, Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James Geurts to address block buys for future amphibious ships, which have provided significant cost savings for other Navy programs. “I think there is tremendous potential . . . to do a block buy of the three LPDs and the LHA,” Geurts said. “We see that savings . . . to be in the 8 to 12 percent range, which would be a billion dollars back in taxpayer savings.”20 O’Rourke confirmed this assessment, noting, “Compared with estimated costs under annual contracting, estimated savings for programs being proposed for [multi-year procurement] have ranged from less than 5 percent to more than 15 percent, depending on the particulars of the program in question, with many estimates falling in the range of 5 to 10 percent.”21
Considering the Marine Corps Commandant has made “force design [h]is. . . number-one priority,” the Flight II LPD and LHA-9 and -10 programs could take advantage of updates to the Navy and Marine Corps strategies and capstone documents.22 “The frugal way to reach the [amphibious/expeditionary warship] goal and to do so faster is to accelerate production of America-class LHAs and speed up the procurement of LPD-17 Flight II ships,” Dr. Daniel Gouré of the Lexington Institute explained.23 “This can be achieved by contracting for multiple ships at a time.”
Mainstreaming the Littoral Combat Ship
On 25 January 2020, the Navy conducted a freedom of navigation operation through the hotly contested Spratly Islands—an action it repeatedly has taken in recent years to counter China’s sovereignty claims throughout the entire region.24 What made this operation significant was that it was conducted by the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8) near the Chinese-fortified Johnson Reef and Fiery Cross Reef.
The Montgomery’s successful operation signals that the Navy’s strategy of “mainstreaming LCS” is working. Championed by Vice Admiral Richard Brown, head of U.S. Navy Surface Forces, that strategy holds that LCS will be no different than any other surface ship class in the fleet. “LCS is mainstreamed. It equals the ability to deploy of our DDGs,” Brown said.25
It is not that LCS capabilities or crew size match those of destroyers, but the dual-crewing model allows each LCS to remain forward deployed longer and undertake more missions. Within five years, the LCS fleet will have 66 crews to man 35 ships. This compares to the 30 years it has taken the Arleigh Burke–class DDG fleet to reach a total of 68 single-crewed ships. When fully functioning, each LCS ship should have an operational availability (Ao) of .56, according to Brown, far higher than that of the DDG force.26
During the year, the Navy experienced how an LCS fleet at full operational tempo might look. The USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) deployed to the western Pacific and the Detroit (LCS-7) and Little Rock (LCS-9) to the Caribbean. During its transit, the Gabrielle Giffords launched the new over-the-horizon Naval Strike Missile, which will give every LCS a more potent antiship punch (see “The Lost Battle of the South China Sea, Refought,” March 2020 Proceedings, pp. 92-93). The Detroit deployed with the newly operational Longbow Hellfire missile package to defeat small-boat attacks. And the Navy plans to test a laser weapon system on the Little Rock in 2020. “LCS is really going to fulfill its roles . . . doing the things that small combatants can do—relieving large combatants of those duties and getting that high presence that the ships were designed to do,” said Rear Admiral Casey J. Moton, program executive for unmanned and small combatants. “We are on a good path to that. In just a few more years, mainstreamed LCS is just going to be a major part of the fleet operating every day.”27
The Navy will deploy LCSs equipped with the mine countermeasures and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) mission packages, both of which are nearing development completion and should soon be ready for production. The Navy expects to complete testing of the ASW system, including the variable-depth sonar, on the Freedom-class variant this year and then move to testing on board the Independence-class variant. Moreover, the Navy achieved Milestone C approvals for both the Knifefish UUV mine detection system and the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) in the past year and expects to achieve initial operational capability in FY 2022. A new lethality and sustainability program for active LCSs also is in the Navy’s 2021 budget request.28
Still All-In for Unmanned Surface Vehicles
The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) launches a Naval Strike Missile in exercise Pacific Griffin in October 2019. In 2019, four littoral combat ships deployed overseas, as the surface navy began implementing a strategy of “mainstreaming LCS” into the force so that these ships will be considered no different than any other surface ship class in the fleet. U.S. Navy (Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago)
Navy leaders are united in the goal of accelerating the development, acquisition, and fielding of new unmanned surface vessels, despite congressional concerns about the pace and direction of this new evolution in naval capabilities. The Navy sought to jumpstart both development and experimentation of the large USV as an adjunct magazine for manned surface warships. But Congress balked at approving surface-to-surface and surface-to-air/space missiles on unmanned platforms over concerns the Navy was proceeding too quickly in arming unmanned ships without extensive testing and well-defined concepts of operation.
Despite this concern, Congress still funded two large USVs in the 2020 budget, with restrictions on testing and experimentation. This is not an entirely new idea. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Navy’s Battlegroup Antiair Warfare Coordination/Remote Track on Search initiative involved launching a missile from one surface warship based on firing data from another warship, admittedly with many humans “in the loop.”29 (This was also accomplished in 2016 with targeting data from an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter). This is how most cruisers and destroyers routinely operate today—and what the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Air concept has repeatedly demonstrated. Forty years later, then-Acting Secretary Modly said, “We have to really accelerate our investment in unmanned platforms, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Without having the platforms, it’s very difficult for us to do that type of integrated testing. But [unmanned is] absolutely going to be part of whatever future force structure we have, and so we need to start experimenting with concepts, understanding how the technology will work.”30
Key to the Navy’s testing of the large USV is the continuation of the Secretary of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office Ghost Fleet effort. Entering Phase II in the spring of 2020, the Ghost Fleet eventually will total six commercial offshore support vessels that have been modified to conduct unmanned navigation and experiments with various sensors and payloads.31 Phase I testing focused on navigation autonomy and automating hull mechanical and engineering systems.
The Navy officially established the Surface Warfare Development Squadron in April 2019 in San Diego to serve as the fleet’s experimentation and concepts development organization for unmanned surface systems. Eventually, the Ghost Fleet ships, two Sea Hunter vessels, and the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) will constitute the squadron’s experimental fleet. Finally, another significant development in unmanned occurred in December, when Fleet Forces Command directed Surface Forces Pacific to begin developing concepts of operations for both the large and medium displacement USVs, the latter to serve as an electronic warfare and surveillance platform. Initial concepts are to be presented in September 2020.32
INFSA Projects a Way Ahead
Despite the current global turmoil, the Navy appears to be settling on a clearer course that includes greater operational and force-design collaboration with the Marine Corps, integrating the USS Gerald R. Ford into the fleet, securing approval of a new Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment, pushing ahead with the development of new families of unmanned surface and undersea systems, and mainstreaming the LCS force. In short, it was a very interesting year, and out of chaos opportunities loom large.
1. Ronald O’Rourke, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 27 March 2020), https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL32665.
2. Megan Eckstein, “CNO, Commandant Asking for Fleet Wholeness Amid Pause in Future Force Structure,” USNI News, 3 March 2020.
3. Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans.
4. Eckstein, “CNO, Commandant Asking for Fleet Wholeness.”
6. ADM Michael Gilday, USN, “FRAGO 01/2019: A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” December 2019, www.navy.noclick_mil/cno/docs/CNO%20FRAGO%20012019.pdf.
7. GEN David Berger, USMC, Commandant’s Planning Guidance (Washington, DC: 2019).
8. Transcript of ADM Michael Gilday, USN, at U.S. Naval Institute Defense Forum Washington, 5 December 2019.
9. HON Thomas Modly, “SECNAC Vector 1 December 6, 2019.”
10. Email to the authors, 30 March 2020. See also, Ronald O’Rourke, Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, RL33745, 17 December 2019).
11. David Larter, “As CNO Richardson Departs, US Submarine Builders Face Pressure,” Defense News, 22 August 2019.
12. RADM Randy Crites, USN, “FY21 Navy Budget Briefing,” 10 February 2020.
13. Richard Burgess, “Smooth Sailing for the Columbia Class? Navy Working on Keeping Sub on Track for 2028 Delivery,” Seapower, 25 September 2019.
14. Megan Eckstein, “UPDATED: Navy Awards 2-carrier Contract to Newport News Shipbuilding,” USNI News, 31 January 2019, news.usni.org/2019/01/31/navy-awards-2-carrier-contract-newport-news-shipbuilding.
15. Megan Eckstein, “Modly: Parallel Fleet Studies Could Reshape Future of Aircraft Carriers,” USNI News, 12 March 2020, news.usni.org/2020/03/12/modly-parallel-fleet-studies-could-reshape-future-of-aircraft-carriers.
16. Ryan Pickrell, “Navy May not Buy Any More Ford-class Supercarriers, Acting Navy Secretary Says,” Business Insider, 9 March 2020, www.businessinsider.com/navy-may-not-buy-any-more-ford-class-aircraft-carriers-2020-3; and Franz-Stefan Gady, “The Service May Cap the Number of Ford-class Carriers at Four,” The Diplomat, 11 March 2020, thediplomat.com/2020/03/us-navy-may-not-buy-more-ford-class-aircraft-carriers/.
17. A political cartoon of the time showed a brontosaurus with “CVN-71” scribbled on its flanks, munching on dollars spewing from the Capitol, with a congressional staffer asking, “Quick! How do we tell if it’s the last time?”
18. Pickrell, “Navy May not Buy.” See also Mike Glenn, “Navy Eyes Converting Amphibious Assault Ships into Nimble F-35 Carriers,” The Washington Times, 30 October 2019, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/30/navy-weighs-adding-extra-fighter-amphibious-ships-/.
19. Coauthor Dr. Scott C. Truver served as strategy, policy, and programs analyst for the DCNO Air Warfare (OP-05) and Aircraft Carrier Programs (OP-55) from 1977 to 1996, including initial efforts on CVN21/CVNX.
20. “Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sees ‘Tremendous Potential’ in Block Buy of Mississippi-Built Amphibious Ships,” press release, Office of Senator Roger Wicker, 4 March 2020. See also Ronald O’Rourke, Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs: Background and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, R43543, 10 March 2020).
21. Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 17 March 2020), fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41909.pdf.
22. Megan Eckstein, “Senator Wants to Keep Amphib Construction Moving, After FY 2020 Budget Request Delays Programs,” USNI News, 28 March 2019.
23. Berger, Commandant’s Planning Guidance.
24. Dr. Dan Goure, “Study This Picture: The U.S. Navy Desperately Needs More of These Ships,” National Interest, 9 February 2019, nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/study-picture-us-navy-desperately-needs-more-these-ships-44137.
25. “LCS Conducts First South China Sea FONOP of 2020,” The Maritime Executive, 28 January 2020.
26. Megan Eckstein, “The State of LCS; Navy Pushing More Ships to Sea as Class Matures,” USNI News, 6 September 2019, news.usni.org/2019/09/06/the-state-of-lcs-navy-moving-to-add-firepower-capability-to-both-classes.
27. Eckstein, “The State of LCS.”
28. “Going Mainstream: PEO USC Delivers Small Combatants and Develops Revolutionary Unmanned Vessels for the Fleet,” Seapower, December 2019.
29. “Charting New Course for Manned and Unmanned Warships: Interview with RDML Casey Moton, PEO Unmanned and Small Combatants,” Surface SITREP, December 2019.
30. Chester Phillips and Edward Prettyman, “Battle Group Antiair Warfare Coordination,” Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, 02-04 1981, pp. 308ff.
31. Testimony to House Armed Services Committee on FY21 Navy Budget, 27 February 2020.
32. Justin Katz, “Navy to Buy SCO USVs for Experimentation, Eight LUSVs Through FYDP,” Inside the Navy, 14 March 2019.
33. Justin Katz, “Navy Directs CONOPS Development for Two Major Unmanned Programs,” Inside the Navy, 2 January 2020.
ν Mr. Holzer is principal research analyst, TeamBlue Naval and Maritime Programs, Gryphon Technologies Inc.
ν Dr. Truver directs TeamBlue and serves as a senior advisor at the Center for Naval Analyses.